The Nigerian goats are goats to love. Their small size and unique personalities make them fun to have. All our does and bucks are NDGA registered.
They are a miniature dairy goat recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA) They are of west African origin and more about them can be seen on on the Nigerian Dairy goat website www. NGDA.org
A Nigerian dwarf doe can produce a lot of milk for her small size.
From 1 to 2 quarts per day. Their milk is high in butterfat and higher in protein than milk from most other dairy goats. We find their milk to be very delicious. Some owners raise their goats for milk production but others have these delightful little guys for the pure pleasure and companionship they bring into your life. Years ago I had Nubian goats with their gallon a day and was always looking for some way to use the extra milk. The smaller amount is ideal for a smaller family.
Their gestation period is 150 days. We find our girls usually birth a day or two before that. We keep the buck separate so we have control of the breeding. I breed my girls later than some people do as I really don't like babies coming in the coldest months and I like to wait until they are at least a year old to breed them. My does are usually about 2 years old at their first freshening.
The does are good mothers and each owner has their own method of raising young. Some bottle feed, some let the mothers raise them to a weaned age. I have let mom take care of the babies -they are so dedicated to them. After the babies are about 6 weeks old and eating well on their own, I lock the babies away from mom at night and milk her in the morning. It depends on the size of babies. Eight to ten weeks seems a good weaning age - I have used this time for wethers mostly and like to leave the little does with their mom a little longer. If I am going to keep the doeling I often let mom raise her and wean her when she is ready.
Accommodations for these little guys should be clean pens free of dampness and draft. We have three sided stalls well bedded with straw and have found that they love a sleeping shelf. One of the reasons I prefer a sleeping shelf is that it gets them up and out of any damp bedding. It is easy to clean as we have rubber mats on them that are easy to take off and hose. We also have several dog crates filled with lots of straw in their pen as they love to nestle into them. They absolutely hate the rain. Our bucks have a small building -well bedding with straw.
Fences are very important as they can be escape artists and love an adventure. This can be very dangerous. We have re-fenced with a sheep and goat fence by Red Brand as regular field fence isn't as adequate for our needs. It has a small 4" square which works well for everyone except for the first couple of week when the babies are small enough to go thru. I can not stress fencing enough. Our pens are topped with a hot wire. This can hopefully keep the dangers away from your animals. In my opinion -dogs are the worst danger to them. We have cougars and bobcats in our area and have kept them safe so far with the hot wire and lights on in the barn area. We also use a product called NITE-GUARD and have 1/2 dozen attached to the fence posts in different areas. They are a small box -solar powered - that flashes a red LED light all night.
Bucks need a more secure fence line. We now have hot wire on the inside also and will come up with a new plan come spring if needed.
I would like to make mention about the milk as I had been told it tastes bad. It is unfortunate that people have had this happen as good goat milk is delicious with no off flavor. It makes wonderful cheese and yogurt. I think the off flavor of milk comes from careless handling of the milk , dirty surroundings, or by the food they eat. I have been told that a buck near them will give the milk off flavor but our buck's fence line is shared by the does and we notice no problems with milk flavor. I only milk in clean surroundings, having washed the doe's udder well, - filtering and cool the milk immediately. My girl also gets a dairy clip to help keep any hair from falling near the milk - in summer they get clipped off completely. Many people milk by hand but for me -a machine was needed. I have arthritis in my fingers and a machine works better.
Milking machine Information:
There are many milking machines on the market but for economics we did this conversion.
I have not had any problems with my girls - no mastitis at all - so this surge milker works well.
I found a Babson surge milker on E-bay and my husband converted it for me.
I am including our prices so you can compare, prices may have changed a little now.
The Babson surge milker was a bargain for $45.00 plus 20.00 shipping from back east.
We ordered the minigoat/sheep milking conversion kit from Hamby dairy supply for $115.00. Item no. 4793. It was designed especially for the Nigerians.
Also a pulsator repair kit (501-10310) for $17.95. Good clear instructions were included.
A new lid gasket (1047) was $3.95.
We needed a vacuum pump and ordered a rebuilt one from Perry's Milker. He also sells the whole surge milking unit already rebuilt and ready to go. I do not use the surge milker to hold the milk, it is very heavy and too big for the amount of milk I have. My husband made a bypass into a wide mouth half gallon canning jar and that works great, or I can use a quart jar.
It is easy to clean as I only take off the conversion kit which is the milk hoses, inflations and shells. I then rinse well with clear cold water, then with dish soap and bleach and again a clear rinse. Hang them up to dry with the goat claw rubber bumper bottom off to drain well. We converted a 20' camper into a milk room and a place for all the animal supplies. Works really well. Running water and lights -the small shower area is my machine cleaning place and the kitchen area for washing bottles and the fridge is right at hand for the milk.